What Is The Use Of Triethanolamine?

Published: 19th March 2009
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Triethanolamine is a highly acidic synthetic emulsifier which is found in some 40% of cosmetics. It is used as a PH balancer or a PH due to its basic content. It is said to also be used an ingredient to add fragrances.

It is a stable viscous liquid usually appearing colorless or light yellow. It melts at 18-21 degrees Celsius and boils at 190 to 193 degrees Celsius. While it is stable, it is incompatible to be combined with oxidizing agents, as well as acids. They are very light and poses some sensitivity to air.

Sting-kill and Sterolamide are other trade names for Triethanolamine. They are found to be very toxic for rats if they are ingested, as well as skin contact. Similarly, if mice, rabbits and guinea pigs ingest Triethanolamine it is found to be very fatal.

Despite its popular use in cosmetics, continuous absorption of Triethanolamine (TEA) in the body results to allergic reactions (such as eye problems, dryness of hair and skin) and other forms of irritation. There are arguments on how Triethanolamine cannot penetrate the skin, because of their low concentration.

Humans are adviced to wear safety glasses when handling this chemical as they can irritate the eyes. It is also best stored in a properly ventilated area. While it is safe to be transported, precaution is necessary in order to avoid any irritation.

It is found to be irritating for the skin. In case of emergency, one must immediately flush out the chemical in order to avoid any form of irritation. While swallowing small amounts of Triethanolamine is are not usually harmful, it is best to seek medical help if one swallows a considerable amount.

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